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Here are the results of The Chronicle's COVID-19 vaccine experience survey

Earlier this year, The Chronicle interviewed students about how they received their COVID-19 vaccines. Now, we are sharing the results of our recent survey about undergraduate students’ vaccination experiences.

The survey was administered from May 14 to May 28 and received 90 responses, of which 81 were complete. Participants were asked which vaccine they received, the date of their last dose, the geographic area in which they were vaccinated, their reasoning for selecting where to get vaccinated, what their spring 2021 living situation looked like and their mode of transportation.

Of the 81 complete responses, 80 were from students, while one was a staff member. Only student responses were analyzed. Juniors formed a plurality (42.5%) of respondents, and only one respondent was an incoming first-year.

Given the sample size and discrepancies in class year, the trends identified in this survey are not necessarily applicable to the student body as a whole. Additionally, the results of this survey are self-reported and depend on respondents’ ability to recall information.


The most commonly received vaccine was Pfizer-BioNTech, followed by Moderna and then Johnson & Johnson. 


Most students were vaccinated in North Carolina, with the majority of those students (79%) being in Durham. Of the 23 students that were vaccinated outside of Durham, 10 were vaccinated near their permanent residence or a family member’s permanent residence. Seven out of those 10 lived off campus in spring 2021.


Very few respondents were fully vaccinated before March, and the earliest completed vaccine series was finished Jan. 17. Two respondents did not give exact dates for their final vaccine dose, but both were vaccinated at Blue Devil Tower indicating the doses occurred after Duke announced that it would make vaccines available to Durham-area students.


The majority of respondents received their vaccines after Duke’s announcement. Despite this, about half of respondents who were vaccinated in Durham received their vaccine through Duke. This is possibly because the state of North Carolina announced that it would be expediting the vaccine eligibility timeline the same day

Of those that registered for a vaccine appointment through Duke, 12 registered through the student sign-up form, 11 registered as employees and 6 were vaccinated through Duke Health. The majority (87.5%) of students that received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine received it through Duke.


Among those that went to Duke-affiliated locations, 21 were vaccinated at Blue Devil Towers, 10 were vaccinated at Karsh Alumni Center and one was vaccinated at Wheels Fun Park. This number is greater than the number of respondents because multiple options could be selected.

Respondents were also asked what type of location they went to, and the options were walk-in clinic, drive-through clinic, CVS, Walgreens, health department and “other.” Walk-in clinic refers to any non-health-department facility where vaccines were administered inside of a building regardless of whether an appointment was required and includes Duke-affiliated locations. “Other” allowed respondents to type their own answers.

The most common type of location was a pharmacy, with 38 respondents indicating that they went to CVS, Walgreens or another pharmacy. The second most common was a walk-in clinic, with 29 respondents. Seven respondents were vaccinated at a health department, and one was vaccinated at a physician’s office. Two respondents went to a drive-through clinic. Six respondents selected “other” without specifying a location.

A variety of factors impacted where respondents got vaccinated. The most common reason for choosing a location was because the respondent wanted the vaccine sooner, with 51 people indicating that this was the case. 

“Walgreens started vaccinating my group before Duke announced vaccination plans and as someone immunocompromised I wanted the vaccine as soon as it was available to me without having to travel back to my home state,” one respondent wrote. They initially scheduled their second dose at Walgreens, but changed locations after learning about scheduling errors with the chain.

Forty-one respondents reported that scheduling was a factor in where they got vaccinated, and getting an appointment was a challenge for some. One student reported being scheduled to receive the wrong brand for their second dose, and another said the location they went to mishandled scheduling for Pfizer doses. Others indicated that scheduling was the most confusing aspect of the process.

Proximity was also important, with 36 respondents selecting this option. One respondent wrote that they wished it were easier to get to and from their appointment, and another reported that they switched locations for their second dose because the original location was too far. 

Eleven respondents reported that they went to their vaccine appointment with someone else, and five chose locations based on positive reviews. Only one person indicated that supply was a factor in where they got vaccinated.

The majority (92.5%) of respondents lived in Durham in spring 2021, with 76.3% living on campus. Under half (45%) had access to a car, and the majority (63%) of those that did drove themselves to their appointment. About a quarter of respondents walked to their appointment, while 10 took public transport and 28 got a ride from someone else.


Some challenges that students reported included rideshare costs, long wait times, not being able to locate their appointment site, having to reschedule due to COVID-19 diagnosis, inability to social distance and confusion about eligibility.

“I was a bit confused about whether or not I qualified [to get vaccinated], and I really wish Duke had been clearer about when we qualified,” one student wrote.

While some respondents reported minimal side effects, others reported feeling sick and terrified by the news about blood clots. 

Despite the challenges, most respondents had a positive experience getting vaccinated. The descriptors that students used are included in the word cloud below:

Nadia Bey


As of June 7, 9,300 students were fully vaccinated.

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